This lesson will provide needed background knowledge for fully understanding the fictional reading of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. This lesson is a close reading activity featuring a non-fiction passage that discusses the symbolism of dragons in Chinese myth and culture.
Of course this text can be used for Chinese culture, Chinese New Year or other cultural studies.
Close Reading is a reading strategy that carefully scaffolds rigorous text by helping students learn to pay close attention to details, use context cues for understanding vocabulary words, infer author’s purpose and possible bias, and analyze and evaluate new information. The teacher acts as coach and allows students to identify, infer, discuss, and express opinion throughout the reading.
Depending on the ability, focus, and motivation of your students, the teacher decides how many paragraphs for the students to annotate. You may even want to differentiate within your own class by creating partners or teams and assigning advanced students a greater number of paragraphs, and struggling readers less and allowing them more time.
This text is purposely harder than students are accustomed to so that students learn to struggle intellectually and to revisit the passage often to answer questions and give opinions/writings.
I recommend using this lesson prior to reading the novel as it explains the dragon connection to weather and water so it will help students to connect with and have a clearer understanding of the first chapters.
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